The Black’s Law
Dictionary, 9th Edition at page 320, defines compensation as:
1. Remuneration and other benefits received
in return for services rendered…..
Payment of damages or any other act
that a court orders to be done by a person who has caused injury to another
It is common for workers
to suffer injury or incur liabilities during the course of employment. This is
more common with employees whose employment require them to work with delicate
and complex medium and heavy duty machinery, such as workers on an oil rig, a
manufacturing company, a laundry service or even a restaurant.

However, though the
Employees Compensation Act, 2010, provides that employers must pay compensation
when an employee suffers injury arising from the conditions of employment. It
is common to see these compensations delayed, frustrated and sometimes never
paid. Several employees who suffered injury during the course of their
employment have been forced to approach the Courts of law to mandate the
unwilling employers to pay up. However, giving the slow pace of the law courts,
which is a situation being speedily addressed by the National Industrial Court,
most victims still tend to feel abandoned, stressed, angry and sometimes
powerless in their situations.
The Employees Compensation
Act, 2010, repealed the Workman’s Compensation Act, 2004, and seeks to provide
an open and fair system of guaranteed and adequate compensation for all
employees both in the public and private sector. However, the Act does not
apply to members of the Armed Forces as stated in Section 3 of the Act.
The Act provides in
Section 7, that –
Any employee, whether or not in a work place, who suffers any disabling injury
arising out of or in the course of employment shall be entitled to payment of
compensation in accordance with Part IV of the Act.  
 It must be noted that it is not compulsory for
the worker to be at the point of duty when the injury occurred, as the Act
provides other instances when the employee will be liable to compensation for
injury suffered. The Act further provides in Subsection (2) that – 
employee is entitled to payment of compensation with respect to any accident
sustained while on the way between the place of work and

employee’s principal or secondary residence,
place where the employee usually takes his meals, or
place where he usually receives remuneration provided that the employer has
prior notification of such place. “ 
If the injury is as severe
as to cause any disability to the employee from earning full remuneration at
the work place, Subsection (3) provides that the compensation shall be payable
pursuant to the Act from the first working day following the day of the injury,
except that only a health care benefit shall be payable on the day of the
injury. When the injury is caused by an accident which arose from the
employment, it would be presumed that the injury happened in the course of the employment.
In C & C Const. Co. Ltd. v. Okhai (2003) 18 NWLR (Pt.851)79, the
respondent while on duty which involved the servicing of the appellants’ crane
sustained grievous injuries arising out of the 2nd appellants failure as switch
operator to use due care thereby causing the crane to become agitated and resulting
in a drum of the crane to rollover violently over the respondent’s left foot,
crushing that leg below the knee. For this he was under great pain and suffering
for which he was hospitalized and this eventually led to the amputation of that
leg. The employee was awarded damages for loss of earning capacity, future loss
and damages for pain and suffering.
 Usually, the employer is responsible for
ensuring that the workplace is not dangerous and that tools, machinery and
other equipment used by the employees are suitable for the task and safe. It is
also the duty of the employer to ensure that the methods used to undertake the
work, the system of supervision and general organization add up to a safe
system of work. It should however be noted that the employer’s duty is only to
take reasonable care and not protect the employee at all cost[i].
Adedunmade Onibokun Esq,
Adedunmade is the Principal
Partner of Adedunmade Onibokun & Co., a corporate commercial law firm
located in Lagos, Nigeria. He also publishes the Legalnaija blog, an
online platform dedicated to educating Nigerians on their legal rights and
obligations. He can be reached via

[i] Gwyneth
Pitt (2007). Employment Law. 6th ed. London : Sweet & Maxwell. 410.